Smyrna, Tennessee – U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced today that the Department of Energy has closed a US$1.4 billion loan agreement with Nissan North America, Inc. The loan will support the modification of Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee manufacturing plant to produce the Nissan Leaf, a zero-emission, all-electric vehicle, and the lithium-ion battery packs to power them.
The loan, which originated through the Department’s loan guarantee program office, was issued as part of the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, a US$25 billion program authorized by Congress as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The program is designed to accelerate the development of vehicles and technologies that increase U.S. energy independence, create cleaner means of transportation and stimulate the American economy. The loan was finalized after a rigorous financial and technical qualification process.
“Nissan applauds the Department of Energy’s support of the development of innovative, advanced vehicle technologies and the creation of clean energy jobs,” said Scott Becker, senior vice president, Administration and Finance, Nissan North America. “Nissan is committed to zero-emission mobility. This loan, which will bring production of the Nissan Leaf to Tennessee, is a significant step in sustaining American jobs and American manufacturing.”
The loan will result in the creation of up to 1,300 jobs when the plants are operating at full capacity. Modification of the Smyrna manufacturing plant, which will begin later this year, includes a new battery plant and changes in the existing structure for electric-vehicle assembly. When fully operational, the vehicle assembly plant will have the capacity to build 150,000 Nissan Leaf electric cars per year, and the new plant will have an annual capacity of 200,000 batteries.